Jesus Sermon Highlights Annual Council Worship Service — Report 2

General Conference President Ted N. C. Wilson focused on the transforming power of Christ’s love in his sermon for the 2019 Annual Council worship service as he delved into the purpose of Christ’s death and resurrection. “God’s Restoring Salvation: Our Last Day’s Message” was the title for his address that began with biblical text and imagery of Christ’s crucifixion.

He described the thief on the cross who pleaded for Christ to save him. Christ responded that the thief would be with Him in paradise. “That’s justification. Immediate! But Christ’s righteousness does not stop with justification. It continues as you accept the power of the Holy Spirit to give you sanctification working in your life to will and to do according to His good pleasure, not your own,” he said.

Then, quoting Ellen White’s recommendation that one should meditate for an hour every day on the death of Christ, he sat down and asked the audience to spend 90 seconds imagining what the crucifixion must have been like and meditating on the meaning of Christ’s death.

When he returned to the microphone he spoke of what happened next. Christ was put in a tomb where he spent the Sabbath resting. “On Sunday morning — in a dramatic way, Jesus is called from the grave! Because of that, Jesus is now ministering for you and for me in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary, giving us the opportunity of eternal life!” he said. “Christ and His righteousness is at the very core of the three angels’ messages and what Seventh-day Adventists are to proclaim in word and deed with Holy Spirit power in these last days of earth’s history.”

The thief on the cross was not the only criminal whose experience Wilson used to illustrate Christ’s transforming power of sanctification. He told the story of Don Johnson, a man convicted of murdering his wife who was executed by the state of Tennessee earlier this year. While in prison, Johnson took Bible studies and was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Wilson interviewed on stage several people who had visited with Johnson in prison. John Dysinger had been asked to be Johnson’s spiritual adviser when Johnson was put on death row. He would take his family with him to the prison, including his daughter Kirsten Dysinger. “He was always cheerful,” she recalled, “he never had a bad word to say about anyone. When you asked him how he was doing, he would reply that he was too blessed to be stressed.”

Pastor Furman Fordham recalled when one Sabbath, a guest came to church, who had been released from prison. He had studied with Don Johnson. Johnson had been ordained as an elder while on death row. Paul was on death row, also, Fordham said. “There is sanctifying power that changes our lives. Johnson went to his death like a reformer knowing the date and time as though he was going to be burned. Confident that even if it was God’s will that he died he would rise again.”

The saving power of Christ shown through not only in the words of the sermon and testimonies, but in the music. To open the service Orlando pastor Charles Haugabrooks led the congregation in a rousing rendition of “Because He Lives.” Later, just before the sermon he was joined by his daughter in singing “I’ve Just Seen Jesus.” And he sang the early Adventist hymn “The Midnight Cry” to conclude the sermon after Elder Wilson had suggested to the audience members that they participate in a public evangelism event in the coming year.

Sometimes, Wilson’s sermons are filled with admonishments to the audience about what they should or should not be doing. This year, he stayed focused on Jesus. “In our conversations during Annual Council over the next days — Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday — we will not always agree,” he said. “I pledge to humble myself so I will be seen less and Jesus will be seen more.”

Bonnie Dwyer is editor of Spectrum.

Photo: Ted N. C. Wilson, President, General Conference (GC) preaching the sermon "God's Restoring Salvation." General Conference Annual Council 2019, October 12-16, 2019. Courtesy of the Adventist News Network on Flickr.

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Thank you for this report. In the Westernized Business Mode one tends to ignore the power of silence and contemplation. I am glad to hear the idea received some attention at the General Conference. Silence and meditation will lead to growth, because such practices allow a person to exit the default categorization that is wired into one’s brain. Pausing and quietness allow space for the Holy Spirit.


Bonnie, thanks also from my side! Your report makes me feel like I’m there myself. Vivid and detailed.


It’s easy to ignore the real problems and avoid dealing with the responsibility of dealing with them by simply going to the basic truth of Christanity.

Who could fault him for his sermon?
It was generic Christanity.
And yes, it is always important.

But where is the solution to the problems the church faces to interpret the meaning of the cross in a practical application in the world today?

This is reality the church faces today.


Considering what he does behind closed doors, in committees creating Kompliance Kommittees and Machiavellian plans to “repeal & replace” the Bible with the SOP (let alone discriminating women), then making statements as the one I am quoting, suggests a passive aggressive personality. Or maybe a lack of perception, thinking that everyone is stupid and won’t notice what he has been doing.

I wonder which one he would rather people pay attention, to his preaching or to his actions? Sorry, can’t do both!!!

This administration is a disaster! It will split the Church if it’s not stopped. Please, people at the AC, VOTE against this abuse.


Thank you for this report. Another report I would like to read is one that sets forth all of the responses of Ted Wilson and other delegates to this question: Do you believe that a woman who has been violently raped commits sin and violates the 6th Commandment by having an abortion?


A link to his sermon…fast forward to his presentation if you like.


I pray that the next GC President take a lesson from Ted Wilson’s term in that it need not take 8 years to come to the realization that humbling oneself so that “I will be seen less and Jesus will be seen more.” Imagine what could have and what could have not transpired had TW taken this attitude the first day of his term.

Spiritual arrogance has certainly no place in our church.


Well, no proper place. But it sure is everywhere.


I agree with your comments Carmen. I am also willing to think that our General Conference President may no longer be opposed to making a change in present policies, but overall at best he is still sitting on the fence. His large ears may perk up when you he hears someone talking about the need to change policies and practices and while not actively searching for information or supportive resources, he happens to stumble across a new idea, he might take a peek. Perhaps he is gaining the confidence to imagine changing, and becoming more aware that it might very well be worth the effort. But he is as you say contemplating. This is where individuals start to ponder about making changes. In essence, they are sitting on the fence before making administrative decisions for change, yet make no real commitment to do so. They consider the pros and cons of their behavior,. They think about the previous attempts they have made to stop change behavior, and what has caused failure in the past.

Ellen White speaks of the contemplative stage when she says in Steps To Christ, p. 32:

“Desires for goodness and holiness are right as far as they go; but if you stop here, they will avail nothing. Many will be lost while hoping and desiring to be Christians. They do not come to the point of yielding their will to God. They do not now choose to be Christians.”

“Through the right exercise of the will and entire change made be made in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, you ally yourself with the power that is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from above to hold you steadfast, and thus through constant surrender to God you will be enable to live the new life, even the life of faith”

For Brother Wilson and others at the AC I wish the wisdom and courage to go beyond “contemplation” into action and purpose.

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The Conservative Jewish “book of common prayer” says,
“Silence is NOT absence.”
[this to Carmen. to compliment your post]

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Do not be deceived by general Christian rhetoric. This is political move before the elections to attract non-fundamentalist circles of the Church.

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Thank you for this additional idea, Steve.

Oops…another voting snafu.

The people are voting with a red piece of paper (No), and a green piece of paper (Yes), which needs to be placed in an envelope. Well, they were voting on something, and come to find out, the people who had checked in late did not receive their envelope due to the computer being down when they checked in. Soooo, it had to be done with a show of hands, which had to be manually counted. I think there were 270 hands to be counted. Then someone addressed the chairman (or whatever he is) and said, "I’m puzzled as to why we are still using card board, red and green. Can we not work on getting an electronic system? :rofl:

Does he know that didn’t work either? Or was he making a point? I hope it’s the latter. Either way…too funny.


yes, this possibility has been mentioned and duly noted before…

however, we can’t rule out an alternate possibility, namely a maturing learning curve in a world president elected from a now defunct publishing house, and after only 4 yrs as president of one of our smallest divisions…TW likely didn’t understand the pulse of NAD during his first term, or that a GC vote, however skilfully manipulated, wouldn’t necessarily be respected…the evident inability to enforce a GC vote has likely dawned on him throughout 2016-2019 in a way it could not have been expected to before, and this experience may very well have inclined him to adopt more constructive approaches in the future…

i think a negative verdict on TW’s first two terms is premature, given the exceptional circumstances attending the hugely disparate world body represented by our church, and the fact that a subject like WO is so perfectly calculated to exploit that disparity…a third TW term would be more dispositive…it would also be more effective in facilitating whatever healing is needed after san antonio than the election of a new president who would necessarily be starting from scratch…for this reason, i also believe dan jackson should be re-elected, and pressed to serve out a third term…TW and dan jackson are natural opposites who appear to be destined to complement each other…perhaps the possibility of this dual destiny should be recognized, accepted and facilitated…

my answer to this question is yes…i also believe she would violate the 8th commandment against stealing - in this case stealing the future of her child, who is her child, although unborn…

rape is a horrible atrocity, but taking the life of a child that may result doesn’t address this atrocity…this is because the child didn’t commit the rape…retribution in the case of rape should be directed against the rapist, and only the rapist, if it is to be just…nurturing a child until birth, and then giving it up for adoption, avoids indiscriminate retribution, which taking the life of an innocent unborn child surely represents…


But would your answer be the same… if the woman was your wife, sister or daughter?


Carol –
ANY TIME one has to vote with a show of hands, there can be “monitors”
writing down names of who votes “yes”, who votes “no” and be used against
them at a later date.
It is Also easier to CHEAT when counting the Red pieces and Green pieces.
Here we go again. Rerun of SA2015 voting issues.


It’s really “strange” that there are so many problems with voting…or is it? :thinking:

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Not at all!!!
It is to ensure that the CORRECT VOTE is recorded on whatever
is brought to the floor for voting.
And pressure on those voting to make the CORRECT VOTE wanted.
All very Unanimous and a show of UNITY.
Not at all “strange”!
It is Very Painful to consider this and to put it in print.

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